Levee Repair Costs Triple
The Bush administration said yesterday that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans's levees to federal standards has nearly tripled to $10 billion and that there may not be enough money to fully protect the entire region.Before Katrina made land fall I wrote the following:
Donald E. Powell, the administration's rebuilding coordinator, said some areas may be left without the protection of levees strong enough to meet requirements of the national flood insurance program. Those areas probably would face enormous obstacles in attracting home buyers and investors willing to build there.
Most of the Florida peninsula is less than 25 feet above sea level. Long before sea level actually rises enough to cover the peninsula strong hurricanes will make it uninhabitable. Warm water is what feeds hurricanes and global warming is first seen in the water.If anything the evidence is even stronger now than it was then that not only New Orleans but much of the Gulf Coast and Florida will soon become uninhabitable. It's never easy to leave your home but one has to wonder if the money being spent on the levees in New Orleans and other repairs on the immediate Gulf Coast wouldn't be better spent on relocation.
Global Warming and HurricanesThe strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century as the earth's climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Although we cannot say at present whether more or fewer hurricane will occur in the future with global warming, the hurricanes that do occur near the end of the 21st century are expected to be stronger and have significantly more intense rainfall than under present day climate conditions. This expectation is based on an anticipated enhancement of energy available to the storms due to higher tropical sea surface temperatures.And it won't be just Florida.
Hurricane Risk to New Orleans"The hurricane is spinning counter-clockwise, it's now got a wall of water in front of it some 30 to 40 feet high, as it approaches the levees that surround the city, it tops those levees," describes Maestri. "The water comes over the top - and first the communities on the west side of the Mississippi river go under. Now Lake Ponchetrain which is on the eastern side of the community now that water from Lake Ponchetrain is now pushed on the population that is fleeing from the western side, and everybody's caught in the middle. The bowl now completely fills and we've got the entire community under water, some 20 to 30 feet under water."